The Georgia Senate’s higher education committee voted in favor Tuesday of allowing a bill to move forward that would allow lottery winners to remain anonymous — but they would have to pay for that privacy.
Senate Minority Leader Steve Henson, the lead sponsor of Senate Bill 331, said the legislation is aimed at protecting multi-million dollar lottery winners from scam artists and other criminals.
“It could put you at risk,” Henson said during Tuesday’s committee meeting.
Henson said eight states have laws that offer lottery winners complete or partial anonymity.
Committee chairman Sen. Fran Millar, R-Dunwoody, said lawmakers must weigh the privacy concerns Henson laid out against concerns the bill would reduce public transparency.
“There are pros and cons on both sides,” he said.
The Georgia First Amendment Foundation has raised transparency concerns. (See Georgia group fights to prevent lottery winners from claiming anonymously, Lottery Post, Jan. 29, 2018.)
The bill would require winners seeking anonymity to give up to 4 percent of their winnings to the state for officials to manage open records requests and other costs to maintain confidentiality.
Lottery proceeds help fund the state’s HOPE college scholarship program.